“When normal words just aren’t enough”: the experience and significance of creative writing at times of personal difficulty

PhD Thesis


McCartney, M. 2011. “When normal words just aren’t enough”: the experience and significance of creative writing at times of personal difficulty. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Department of Applied Psychology
AuthorsMcCartney, M.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDClinPsychol
Abstract

Section A consists of a review of the literature relating the therapeutic use of creative writing. It highlights gaps in the literature and suggesting potential avenues of further research.
Section B presents the findings of a phenomenological study which aimed to explore the experience and significance of creative writing at times of personal difficulty through the analysis of written accounts.
Method. Twenty one people who had personal experience of creative writing in the context of difficult life experiences submitted written accounts. These were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) (Smith, Larkin & Flowers, 2009).
Results. Four main themes were identified: 1) Struggle with a difficult experience, 2) Turning to creative writing, 3) Dealing with it ‘as a matter of words’ and 4) Rejoining the world. A conceptual model illustrating how these master themes are related is presented.
Conclusion. Creative writing was deemed to have played an important and meaningful role in helping participants to integrate and move beyond difficult life experiences. Limitations and clinical implications of the study are discussed and suggestions are made for future research.
Section C involves a critical appraisal of the study presented in Section B. Reflections on the process of the study, as well as further implications and clinical applications are discussed.

KeywordsCreative writing, Mental health, Interpretative phenomenological analysis study
Year2011
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Nov 2011
SubmittedSep 2011
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/867v7/-when-normal-words-just-aren-t-enough-the-experience-and-significance-of-creative-writing-at-times-of-personal-difficulty

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